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Title: Art and counter-publics in Third Way cultural policy
Author: Hewitt, Andy
ISNI:       0000 0004 2733 7164
Awarding Body: University of the Arts London
Current Institution: University of the Arts London
Date of Award: 2012
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In the UK, over the past decade, the rhetoric of ‘Third Way’ governance informed cultural policy. The research sets out how the agenda for cultural policy converged with priorities for economic and social policy, in policies implemented by Arts Council England, in the commissioning of publicly funded visual art and within culture-led regeneration. Hence visual art production was further instrumentalized for the purposes of marketization and privatization. The practice-based research examines the problems issues and contingencies for visual art production in this context. Public sphere theory is used to examine ideas of publics and publicness in Third Way cultural policy context, in state cultural institutions and programming. Using Jürgen Habermas’ conception of the public sphere, the research proposes that cultural policy functioned as ‘steering media’, as publicity for the state to produce social cohesion and affirmative conceptions of the social order, i.e. the management of publics. In contrast, public sphere theory is concerned with societal processes of opinion formation, of selfforming, deliberating and rival publics. The research also applies theories of the public sphere to the theories of art and participation associated with socially-engaged art practice - theories that articulate art in relation to its publics. While socially-engaged artists have produced new modes of art practice that have shifted arts ontology, the research points to how Third Way cultural policy was quick to seize upon socially-engaged art for its own agenda. Public sphere theory informed the strategies and tactics of the Freee art collective (Dave Beech, Andy Hewitt, Mel Jordan) in the production of publicly-funded artworks. The artworks were a means to test the hypothesis and to find evidence by intervening in Third Way cultural policy with alternative ideas. Freee’s public spherian art proposes new modes of participative art to counter Third Way cultural policy - a ‘counter-public art’.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Social Policy ; Creative Arts and Design not elsewhere classified